I’m embarrassed to share this, but I sometimes have questions. Faith questions. The big world overwhelms me, and I melt under the noise of thousands upon thousands who seem to not even notice their creator. The masses move with certainty, speaking of freedom and equality, empowerment, legacies, and paying it forward and never venture into the holy unseen. To them, the invisible God, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth does not exist. And that brings questions to my mind.
To say I have always believed in God’s existence might be a stretch, but not a big one. I first heard about Jesus and my need for him when I was nine years old. Some scary evangelist showed up at our house, arms covered in tattoos, using words like love, saved, and hell all in the same sentence. When he asked if anyone wanted to trust Jesus and not spend eternity amid hellfire and damnation, I raised my skinny little arm and so began my journey.
On the outside my life of faith might seem clear cut and sure. I wanted to be a missionary my teen and college years until I tried it one summer and realized me and chatting up my faith with strangers really didn’t mix. And maybe those nagging questions whispering into the back of my mind played a part in my inability to talk to people about my faith.
Questions like is this for real? How do we know for sure? Why can’t we see him? How can someone so powerful even care about all of us?
I hate the questions. I don’t want to have them, and you’d think after everything I’ve seen, they would be silenced. But they’re not, and from time to time, I have to take a look at them again. (If you look back in my blog posts, you’ll see a bunch of posts on questions like this little gem from 2015, The Importance of Asking the Right Questions.)
I used to listen to apologists when the questions raised their eyebrows and whispered words like fairytale and ignorant. But my favorite apologist turned out to be living a double life, and that only fed the fire in my head.
It’s not a bad idea, though to go to smart people who’ve seen things, lived out God’s faithfulness, and who have stories to tell of his love. The church should bring us close to one another like that—be a place to open up, share, and encourage.
Sometimes a long walk in the woods or along the beach helps tame the beast in my head. Reading the Bible helps. Actually knowing what God has said and promised can be a strong anchor. And Jesus knew it wouldn’t be easy. He prayed for us, the ones who would believe.
Perhaps the best remedy I’ve found for the questions is to talk to God about them. Ask Him. I hesitated to do this because it seems so rude, especially after everything He’s done for me. But He understands our frailties and struggles. His mercies are new every morning, and He wants us to know the truth.
I hesitated to share this post because I figure most people never have questions. It’s all clear cut and obvious to them. But for the ones who sometimes walk away from interactions feeling a little less sturdy and a little more lost, I wanted you to know you’re not alone.
To have our questions and still believe brings us to the place where faith breathes, where the substance of things hoped for and the assurance of the unseen eclipses the things we do not know. And I invite you to come along with me, fellow questioner, that together we might discover the length and breadth of the majesty of God.
And thank you for reading (and not thinking I’m completely messed up)!
You certainly are not! Or…we ALL certainly are.
Either way, your not alone. I can relate.
And I love your posts.
Mary Beth, thank you once again for your courage to be real with your audience. God is a mystery. Any person who thinks they have God all figured out and knows exactly how the Kingdom works is kidding themselves, because God is both intimately knowable and beyond comprehension. (Who among us could correctly answer any of the questions God asks in response to Job’s complaints?) I see questions as a normal part of any faith journey. As long as questions of faith draw us closer to God and not farther away, I believe that questions keep us humble and hungry… Read more »
Thank you, David! I’ve had my struggle with questions. That’s for sure, but God keeps leading me to solid ground. He is my rock. Peace, my friend!